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This year at college I had to take a writing seminar. The theme of the class was “home.” My professor asked questions like: Where is your home? What are the traditions of your home? What defines your home? I had a very hard time answering these questions because I didn’t grow up in a traditional home.

I lived in eight different places before going to college. Some of those were with people who weren’t my family or even distant family. Growing up like this made me used to instability. When my professor would ask these questions about home, the only one place I could think to talk about was Camp Alkulana.

Camp Alkulana is the only constant I’ve had since I was a child. It was the place that showed me what stability looked like. The only place that gave me the answers to these questions: Where is your home? Camp Alkulana. What are the traditions of your home? Movie nights, pool nights, Bible studies, campfires, and books before bedtime. What defines your home? Love. Everything we do at camp is about love; we show God’s love to each other and even ourselves.

This camp home gave me something tangible that I could take back to my harsh reality of no food, no water, no electricity, and no hope for anything better. Not only did I get these things at camp, but I also go the gift of enjoying these things without worrying that the next day they might not be there. Camp, in contrast, was stable and consistent. I always knew that for at least one week out of the year I could let go of the my other realities and be in a place where I could just be a kid.

by Danielle Afolayan

Danielle has been attending Camp Alkulana since 2010 and is now a counselor. She also grew up attending youth programs at the Oregon HIll Baptist Center. Danielle attends Berea College and is a recipient of Camp Alkulana’s Westhampton Scholarship.

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